• Mystery Shopping- Dissolving the Mystery

    Caramel Apple Witches-mystery-shopper-girl.jpgAlmost everyone loves a good mystery... except when it comes to home based working opportunities. If you've ever considered Mystery Shopping as an income, but were too afraid to start, you've come to the right place.

    Why do companies Pay people to shop?

    Three words, Service, Service, Service. Have you ever heard the old saying, it takes years to build a reputation and a minute to destroy one? Companies spend thousands of dollars each year on advertising and employee training. If an employee is not providing good customer service or fails to be courteous, the company may never get a second chance to keep the customer. Mystery shoppers provide companies with a precise view on how the employees are representing the company when it appears that "No one is looking."

    By filling out the questionnaires, the mystery shopper provides the company with a completely unbiased view of how it is being presented to and perceived by the customer.

    How does it work?

    Companies each have their own guidelines of what the mystery shopper should be looking for. Some of these may include:

    1. The Cleanliness of the establishment- if a clothing store- whether the clothes were organized or in disarray. If it's a Restaurant, you may be asked to view the restrooms and report whether they were sanitary and well stocked.

    2. Employee Feedback- such as- were they courteous, did they offer to help, were they able to answer questions on the product they offered for sale.

    For example- when Mystery Shopping for the US Postal Service I was required to report on whether I was asked "Does this parcel contain anything liquid, fragile, perishable or potentially hazardous." This is not only a customer service issue but also a potential security issue to the US Postal Service.
    What you can expect:

    You can expect that you will be required to keep track of approved expenses.

    You can expect to be required to provide receipts (for later reimbursement)

    You will have to pay for some items up front (for which you will later be reimbursed). For example, if mystery shopping a fast food chain, you may be required to purchase a meal deal. You'll turn in the receipt and a week or so later you should receive a check.

    What Not to Do:

    • Don't deal with companies that request payments or fee's

    Other Frequently Asked Questions:

    1. I signed up online with several companies, but most of the time they don't bother to tell you whether you've been accepted. What should I do?

    A. The companies will contact you as soon as they have an opportunity. Several companies have required contracts, others do not. Be sure when filling out paperwork to join mystery shopping companies that you read the fine print as to whether you will be allowed to shop for Other Companies.

    2. Is it possible to make this a full-time job?

    A. While it is possible, for most people, mystery shopping is a way to supplement your income, as well as get a few "free" meals. Whether or not you are able to make a living will be determined by your location.

    3. We live on a Military base, are military commissaries shopped?

    A. Yes, several companies do shop military commissaries. You may have to check into various companies to locate one.

    4. Is Mystery Shopping Safe? Should I be concerned about giving out too much information?

    A. The key to mystery shopping is to know the company that hired you. View the National Center for Professional Mystery Shoppers to learn more about the company you're thinking of working with. If they are not yet listed with the NCPMS, contact the company directly. Personal Identity theft is a serious concern these days, if you want to work with a company, but are concerned about faxing or mailing contracts that contain your social security number, consider getting a Federal EIN number or Taxpayer ID number, For additional information view www.IRS.gov

    5. How can I find Legit Companies to work with?

    A. Here is a list of several hundred various mystery shopping companies that we've become aware of the last few years.


    Image Credit: Fill My Money Box

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. happy0349's Avatar
      happy0349 -
      Recently, I participated as a Mystery Shopper. My job was to go to a local restaurant, order a meal and then complete a survey and rate the restaurant. I was paid promptly.
      The assignment was so easy.!

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